WORCESTER STANDARD ARTICLE 20 ON EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT MARCH 2019

THE LAUNCH OF THE WORCESTER YOUNG CHILD FORUM!
Scientific evidence from all over the world proves that the early years are the most important phase of human development. It is in the first 6 years of life that the foundations are laid for good health, social and emotional stability and 90% of brain growth and development takes place.

In these early years the building blocks for literacy, numeracy, scientific thinking, problem solving and creativity are established that will enable that little person to become a healthy, happy, well-adjusted contributing citizen, able to compete in the 4 th technological revolution. And the impact is way beyond enabling individuals to achieve their potential – it also ensures the human and economic development that
underpins a winning nation.

Brain development and early learning start in the womb and develop dramatically in the very early years. To ensure babies and young children get the best start in life, they need love and care in a family, good nutrition including exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months, good health care, safety and protection, and early stimulation through play, language, stories and songs from birth. ALL of us have a role to play in ensuring a good start for every one of our young children – parents, family, communities, business, municipality and government.

This is the thinking behind the establishment of a Worcester Young Child Forum. It is for all stakeholders who work WITH or FOR young children from conception to school going age. The inaugural meeting held on 7 th February was attended by 65 people representing a wide range of stakeholders – departments of health, education and social development; Cape Winelands municipality; Breede Valley municipality; faith based organisations; ECD [Early Childhood Development] NGOs such as Grassroots and FCW; principals of community based ECD centres; SmartStart playgroup facilitators; the Grow Great Campaign that aims to reduce stunting in South Africa to zero by 2030; media and others.

The Do More Foundation, the CSI [Corporate Social Investment] arm of RCL FOODS (predominantly Rainbow Chickens in Worcester) will provide support, coordination and a monthly venue at Breede Valley APD [Association for Persons with Disabilities]. Each month’s workshop will focus on knowledge building, sharing best practice and focussed discussion on finding solutions to some of the challenges young children face in Worcester communities. Participants have identified some of the key issues they would like to learn more about. For example the next Young Child Forum will hear from a Department of Health nutritionist about the importance of good nutrition in a young child’s life, especially for brain development.

LOVE, PLAY TALK
Learn more about what you can do to change your child’s future by listening weekly to LOVE, PLAY TALK, the radio programme on Valley FM aired EVERY Tuesday from 10 to 10.30am and brought to you by Ilifa Labantwana, RCL FOODS and the DO MORE Foundation.

Get more information from the following websites:

Do listen every week and give your little one the best start in life!

PAM PICKEN
EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT SPECIALIST

BLOCK PIECE ON ECD DEVELOPMENTS IN WORCESTER

Representatives at the first Worcester Young Child Forum heard what the latest neuro-science and longitudinal research is saying about the importance of the early years and how this links to priorities in the global Sustainable Development Goals, as well as South Africa’s National Development Plan and Vision 2030. All are recognising that giving young children the best start in life can break the cycle of poverty and contribute towards creating winning nations.

We shared the work we are already doing for young children; we jointly developed a vision of what we would like every young child in Worcester to experience in their earliest years to ensure they have the best chance in life; we agreed how we would work together and focus on finding solutions; we identified a number of topics we would like to know more about and issues we would like to discuss. AND we had fun and an opportunity to network, get to know other people in the sector and share our passion for our work.

Well known African proverb – ‘It takes a village to raise a child!’